ROUSES POINT - Twenty-five years ago, Peg Barcomb approached the village board to present the idea of a Parade of Toys. Today, the annual holiday kickoff continues.
In 1984, after hearing about a Parade of Bears being hosted somewhere in the country, Barcomb decided the village of Rouses Point should host a similar event.
After approaching then-Mayor Paul Cloutier and the trustees, it was decided to have a Parade of Toys, so children and adults could bring their favorite toy, not just a teddy bear.
"The first year we had several, including the mayor, and they all brought one of their favorite child's toys of what they had when they were kids," recalled Barcomb.
The young and old alike marched from the Dodge Memorial Library to Rouse Park on Lake Street.
After a successful first year, some women in the village decided to have hot cocoa and cookies for everybody at the park.
Eventually, it was decided to have the Parade of Toys also be the day the village lit their Christmas tree, with the tradition continuing through today.
"I think it's good that they've kept it for all these years," said Cloutier. "One of the few things that have lasted all these years in Rouses Point. It's kind of neat that they've kept it going."
Barcomb had similar sentiments.
"I think it's wonderful," she said. "It's something that now it's been going on so long, everybody in the village looks forward to it. With the older people bringing their toys as well as the children, it's made for a lot of good conversation. I think it's turned into a wonderful thing."
This year's Parade of Toys will be held Friday, Dec. 4, at 6:45 p.m. beginning at Rouse Park, and continuing down the street to the Peg Huchro Memorial Gazebo, near the village office. There, carols will be sung and the Christmas tree will be lit. Children will also be read a story and have time to meet with Santa Claus, who will be coming in on a fire truck.
"I think all of the mayors [and trustees] were very kind in keeping it going," said Cloutier. "They deserve some of the credit, too."
For more information about the Parade of Toys, contact the village office at 297-5502.